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XDA dev able to port Note 5 firmware to Galaxy S6

Posted by wicked August - 18 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

We admit that Android may not be as secure but you know, there’s some beauty to it. Genius hackers can easily do anything they want. Just a few changes in code, some cracking, or rebooting, you can make your mobile device do a certain function or enable a special feature. Just yesterday, we learned that an XDA developer managed to enable Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 on his Sony Xperia Z2. This time, let’s bring more fun to the latest bigger, premium flagship by porting the Galaxy Note 5 firmware to the Galaxy S6.

How is that even possible? Of course, it’s Android and XDA developers are great hackers. For one, arter97, a recognized developer on XDA knew that optimizations and some features on the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 are different. The latest flagship’s software is obviously better and more efficient. Porting the firmware of a new model to an older one resulted to improved performance and better memory management with his ‘back-to-n0t3′ project.

According to arter97, you need a Note 5 firmware ready custom kernel with the ROM, specifically the arter97 kernel 2.2. If you know how to make one or know custom kernel developer, you can apply this one on the Galaxy S6.

The dev even gave us an idea of the usual processes that happen during porting: Debloated, De-KNOXed, Odexed, zipaligned, uncompressed.

Remember that doing all these steps will void the warranty of the Galaxy S6. As we always say with suggestions from XDA, DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. The XDA member strongly suggested that you do your own research first if you plan on doing this hack. Don’t blame the developer if your modifications and hacking won’t be successful.

VIA: XDA

You can now install the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 ROM on the Galaxy S6

Posted by wicked August - 18 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off
samsung galaxy note 5 first look aa (14 of 41)

It’s normal for Samsung Galaxy S6 users to feel a bit envious of the Galaxy Note 5 features. After all, these larger handsets come with no shortage of UI optimizations and extra capabilities. Thankfully, there’s nothing our beloved developer community can’t do. The guys at XDA Developers have found a way to port the Note 5 ROM to the Galaxy S6, making it possible to take advantage of all Note 5 features in the smaller flagship phone.

But why would anyone want to do this? Isn’t the software pretty much the same? Well, the UI is pretty similar in both handsets, but let’s keep in mind the Note 5 is larger and newer, hence it comes with improved features and adaptations. In this case, Galaxy Note 5 users will enjoy SideSync 4.0, improved camera controls and UI optimizations. In addition, XDA member arter97 (who is behind this port) has already found some improvements in memory management and performance, as the Note 5 software carries more bug fixes and performance improvements.

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Feeling adventurous? You can join the action by testing this port on your own Samsung Galaxy S6, but you will need root. Just keep in mind tinkering with your device’s hardware and software can be a bit dangerous. There is always some risk of temporarily or permanently damaging your device. Not to mention the fact that doing this can void your warranty, and you will be left alone shall anything bad happen. Also, keep in mind this ROM is likely not to be 100% stable.

Now, if that disclaimer doesn’t scare you, let’s jump right into the instructions.

Downloads:

How to Install Note 5 ROM on Galaxy S6:

  1. Install ClockworkMod(or PhilZ) recovery
  2. Put ROM on your SD card
  3. Enter recovery
  4. Perform a full data wipe(except you’re running previous versions of back-to-n0t3)
  5. Flash ROM
  6. Flash custom kernel that supports Note 5 firmware (mandatory)
  7. Flash SuperSU (optional)

How many of you guys are doing this? Hit the comments to tell us how your experience went! And if you have any questions or doubts, you can always refer to the main forum post on XDA Developers.

Hot Samsung videos

Android operating system brought to Samsung Gear S thanks to XDA developer and CyanogenMod

Posted by wicked August - 17 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

Gear s wrist straps

Samsung might not have been the very first smartwatch manufacturer, but they definitely have been one of the most adamant companies in pushing the appeal of a wrist-borne computer. Additionally, one could easily argue that they also produce the most beautiful of all the smartwatches: the curved Gear S. Also, arguably, the Gear S has one of the biggest flaws of all the smartwatches out on the market: Tizen.

Until XDA developer biktor_gj stepped up and brought Android to the Gear S via CyanogenMod 12.1. And what was Biktor’s opening comment upon success? “Hey GearS! Welcome to the Android family!”

Biktor went on to say:

Almost nothing works, just boots, touchscreen, battery level as far as I’ve seen. But doesn’t it look spectacular? Oh, and it goes damn fast! I don’t know if it’s because it’s empty, half baked or what but it needed about 4 seconds to do all that “Upgrading apps X of 70″, so this CPU can do A LOT more of what it does with Tizen.

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Using CyanogenMod 12.1 and popular custom recovery tool TWRP, Biktor rooted and replaced the Tizen operating system with that of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. At the moment, Biktor is only able to bring this advancement to GSM smartwatches that have an unlocked bootloader, so if you have yours with AT&T, you’re out of luck for now.

Stay tuned to his developer thread and see what he brings to the table over the coming weeks!

Now remember, if you don’t know what you’re doing when playing around in the guts of your smart devices, don’t do it. Doing stuff like this voids your warranty and you could end up turning your expensive gadget into a glorified paperweight (a.k.a. “bricking”). XDA developers and Talk Android accept no responsibility in such matters.

Source: XDA-Developer forums via Sammobile

Come comment on this article: Android operating system brought to Samsung Gear S thanks to XDA developer and CyanogenMod

Here’s how to enable Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 on your Sony Xperia Z2

Posted by wicked August - 17 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

While gadget town is busy anticipating the arrival of the Sony Xperia Z5 and its siblings, some XDA developers were involved in discovering how the Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 feature in an old Xperia Z2 would be activated. Sony was believed to be hiding the feature inside according to showlyshah, a Senior Member on XDA. He said that while searching for more information about QuickCharging 2.0, he saw a list made by Qualcomm of devices that support the new charging technology. The Xperia Z2 was included although Sony did not officially disclose that it’s capable of quick charging.

Sony even refused the claim said the developer but then later on admitted that it’s a feature on the Japanese version (SO-03F). Based on XDA devs’ numerous experiences tinkering on Sony devices, the company is already known for disabling some features including noise cancellation, Bravia engine, Bionz engine, 4K, and slow motion video. These features didn’t escape the genius hackers so they shared the patches on the forum.

XDA member showlyshah started a forum on the subject and with the help of several other developers, he was able to enable QC-2.0 on his Xperia Z2. What he did was to ask a Kernel developer AndroPluso to build test kernels for him. The test kernels included parts of QC-2.0 and then install the original SO-03F firmware. That wasn’t enough so he then created a flashable zip of the SO-03F system partition, flashed it, and removed some things from it. Next step, he unlocked the bootloader and then followed the following steps:

1.) Flashed AndroPlus’ v59 kernel that support fota recovery.
2.) Booted into recovery before flashing the system partition zip.
3.) Flashed stock docomo kernel, baseband, and loader using flash tool without having to reboot again.
4) Wait for phone to be rebooted.
5) Used his Samsung QC-2.0 charger (5v@2000ma and 9v@1670ma), plugged it, and then voila, the Sony Xperia Z2 started charging at QuickCharge 2.0 speed.

Watch video below:

While this is one great way to make most of a smartphone, hacking is not always advisable especially if you don’t speak dev-talk. As we always say when it comes to rooting, hacking, or cracking something, do this AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Head on over to XDA for more details.

VIA: XDA

Flagship Furore – Why the Market Changed

Posted by wicked August - 8 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

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Recent headlines have talked much about the future of smartphones. We hear the phrase “flagship” banded around, a moniker typically reserved for a company’s “headline” product release, used to lead the company flag forward into battle in the marketplace. Back in 2009, when Android first began to gain a sensible level of traction, a flagship was a manufacturer’s main handset for the year.

 

First, a brief history lesson

 

OEMs had clear product ranges, and there was a clear “leader”. That was the flagship – the big brother of that year’s phone releases. Each manufacturer would compete to be that year’s best flagship – and we even recently did a nice run down on the flagship history of Samsung, Sony, and HTC.

20150808084336877This worked well for a number of years. It ultimately drove innovation, and led to more rapid product development – OEMs wanted to ship the latest possible technology, in order to attempt to usurp their rivals, and prevent themselves from being overtaken – the mobile handset business is highly competitive, and notoriously difficult to turn a profit in. To see your rival launch a product with hardware you turned down would be career suicide for a product manager, so technology was driven forward at an astronomical rate.

Look at devices over the years, though, and you’ll see this for yourself. The HTC Hero was probably the first “mainstream” Android device that you could buy easily at launch (previous devices like the G1 were not so easy to get hold of, unless you went out of your way to try to buy one). The Hero shipped in June 2009 with a 528 MHz single-core CPU, and only 288 MB of RAM (a non-negligible portion of which was reserved for graphics, if memory serves your aging editor correct). Only 9 months later, in March 2010, HTC announced the Desire, with its 1 GHz CPU, and 576 MB of RAM!

Taking a step back here, we saw what amounted to almost double the CPU, and double the RAM. In a 9 month period, across a single product generation. These kinds of performance improvements offered customers genuine progress, and made an upgrade compelling. With hindsight, 9 months is a rather short interval between flagships – users are unlikely to be willing to part with their cash twice in 12 months for a new handset, but nonetheless, this model continued, as 9 months was the shortest cycle they could manage, while having enough time to polish a product off, and move onto the next one, before marketing took over the product to sell it to customers.

 

Then things went downhill

 

The one thing flagship devices had in common was their price. These were not low-priced handsets. Manufacturers and carriers were almost certain at the time that they were pricing a large number of customers out of the market. They were aware that smartphones should have been selling more units, but customers were being expected to either pay a large amount more for handsets than they were used to (if buying a handset on its own), or to take out a monthly contract (possibly with an upfront contribution to the handset), with a higher monthly fee than they were used to. Word filtered through to OEMs, and their product teams were told that the customers (carriers) wanted to have handsets they could retail at around half the price.

When buying my own first smartphone, I recall facing a decision between the expensive HTC Hero, and a much cheaper (around 1/3 of the price) carrier-rebadged version of an anonymous Huawei handset. Ultimately, I ended up with the Hero, partly thanks to my ability to drive a hard bargain with the carrier, and partly because of a small subforum on a website that I had found. That website was XDA-Developers, and it led me to realise that there was more to a phone than specifications and price.

 

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In the months that followed, though, the main manufacturers started to realise they were at risk from the cheaper handsets, and their product development resources ended up split, with some working on the traditional top-of-the-range devices, and others working on lower-priced models, for the more cost-sensitive sectors of the market. At some point in this process, though, someone had the idea (which I feel was terrible, but which I can only presume they thought was brilliant) to create more of these lower-priced handsets, with different appearances and innards, to cater for all of the possible different price-points on the market. This led to the usual flagship devices continuing as before, but with an increasing number of rushed, poor quality (and frankly junk) devices brought to the market in a rush, by OEMs eager to reach price-conscious buyers.

This led to the market being watered down. There was still the “big” product being launched each year, with impressive specifications to match its impressive price tag, but there were growing numbers of lower-end devices being released. Often, to capitalise on the “fame” of the flagship, OEMs sought to associate their new, lower-end devices, with the existing flagships by using similar names. This is what has led us to seeing devices like the Galaxy S3 Mini which, despite its physical appearance, has a 1 GHz dual-core NovaThor CPU with almost nothing in common with the quad-core 1.4 GHz Exynos CPU of the “real” Galaxy S3.

 

Now back to today!

 

Today, flagship devices continue to exist. HTC’s latest device in the One range would be their flagship. Sony’s Z3+ (or Z4, depending on market) would be their flagship. Samsung’s would be their Galaxy S6. And LG’s would be the G4. It’s rather intuitive and obvious to those in the industry, but there’s no official designation from each company, showing what their flagship is. That’s because the market is now saturated with phones, as we just discussed. The market is now awash with so many different handsets that companies are struggling to build a viable marketing campaign for all their different product ranges. Even after HTC said they would stop releasing endless mid-range devices, they continued to do so, apparently unabated. OEMs flooded the market with cheap, commodity handsets.

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This was naturally good for the market, as consumers wanted cheaper handsets, and the free market simply ensured they had sufficient supply (and competition) to drive down prices. Such highly competitive marketing, along with high hardware costs (and low margins) led to problems which we continue to see today, however. Software Updates…

Yes, software updates. To the average user, these are relatively unimportant, until something stops working on their phone, and they either blame their last update, or decide their device needs an update to fix it. Updates are expensive, and require significant engineering resources to get right. Getting software right is hard, as OEMs are expected to make software which works on every one of the hundred-plus countries in which their device was sold. The problem is that the engineers are already working on the next mid-range handset, about to be churned out. This makes it very difficult for OEMs to produce software updates for their older phones. This rears its head when major security issues are found, and manufacturers take months to send out a tiny update to fix the bug (and many will never even release such an update, simply deciding it’s too much effort!)

This has led to hardware becoming a commodity, however – companies now ship so many devices, and at such a high pace, that there’s little special about a device launch – there is another one coming up shortly! The sheer competition has turned the very handsets we use into commodities, rushed out of the hands of the engineers and designers, so the next one can be launched. And this leads to devices which are near-identical being released, one after the other.

 

An Example – Sony

 

I could have chosen almost any OEM here, but I chose Sony, since the stagnation of their product line is probably clearest to show. Let’s look at their last three flagships. The Xperia Z2 was released in April 2014, with a Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AB CPU), which is quad core, 2.3 GHz. The Xperia Z3 was released 5 months later, in September 2014, and boasted a Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AC), with 4 cores at 2.5 GHz. If you blink and re-read the last sentence, you’re not alone – to spare you the effort of seeking a magnifying glance, the different between these two handsets is a slightly different stepping of CPU, and a boost of 200 MHz (on a device which is already at 2.3 GHz). The devices are otherwise pretty much identical, to the extent that I’ve seen a Z3 go into a Z2 case and look fairly comfortable.

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Sony Xperia Z4 and Xperia Z3

With the Z3+, Sony moved to the Snapdragon 810 radiator, ahem, CPU. To be precise, the MSM8994. This is a bit different, having 4 low-power cores, and 4 regular 2 GHz cores. Otherwise, the device is pretty much the same. There’s really very little difference between any of them. I was tempted to place a link here to some comparison between the devices based on synthetic benchmarks. Instead, I chose not to, and to simply point out that there’s very little difference between any of the devices. And arguably the Z3+ (with its inbuilt egg-fryer capabilities) would be slower under certain conditions (such as those that don’t involve sitting idle!).

Putting aside those yolks (sorry, last one, I promise), there is a serious point here – there is almost no compelling difference between 3 subsequent generations of Sony devices. Why would someone with a Z2 upgrade? What does the new device have, which the old device doesn’t have? With hardware having reached commodity status (as discussed above), we’re at the point where the answer frankly is “nothing”.

 

Nothing Different

 

2015 has been a somewhat boring year for phones. The biggest excitement to the market probably came from Samsung, who decided to grind the corners off the glass of an S6, and call it the S6 Edge. While there’s no doubt customers find it a nice-looking phone, I’ve heard many argue it’s a gimmick. It’s certainly not something which interests me. Yet in a stagnant market, it’s captured the interests of customers, and led to record demand. Indeed, I believe at one point, Samsung’s glass-edge-removal process couldn’t keep up with the demand!

20150614214824997This goes to show that there is still room in the market for high-priced devices. Yet this hardware will rapidly become commodity as well, just like quad core CPUs, or 2K screens did. And even with all of these improvements, we still see software rushed to the extent that Samsung are still battling crippling memory leaks on their recent devices. Heck, they even added an automatic scheduled reboot feature to their ROMs

Why? Because the software is rushed, and everyone is focusing on the commodity hardware. Nobody is taking the time to do some proper quality assurance, and actually sit down and test out the phone with a fresh pair of eyes over the experience. Android, even on 5.1.1, is slower and more sluggish than a recent iPhone. And I say this as a devout Android user. We don’t need any more CPU cores, or any more GHz. And heck, we don’t need integrated frying pans on our phones. What we need is proper, high quality, well-tested software, written by expert embedded systems engineers. Ones who are paid to be perfectionists. Who will refuse to create a shippable version of the software until they are happy it’s just right. And that will never happen, as the commercial pressures are just too great, to get yet another phone out of the door, and move on.

 

The Flagship is Dying

 

20150808053703504There. I said it. I believe the flagship is dying. Sure, OEMs will still release a phone that gets more attention than the rest. Or which had its glass edges ground off for attention. Or which has an integrated battery-powered meat grill. But these are not things that will sell phones going forward – the hardware is a commodity. What we need now is quality. There’s simply no need to buy a phone every year. Or even every 2. My 2011 Note 2 remains absolutely perfect, after I swapped out its battery for a (genuine) new one I paid less than about $18 for!

That’s not an option for your new commodity hardware though – a replaceable battery would make your phone last too long! Much better to seal that battery up, and stop you from replacing it, to force you to buy another phone down the line. But hey, maybe by then they will have fixed that horrific memory leak, which plagues your current phone? As it’s not like you’re realistically going to get a fix for that any time soon, as the firmware developers are already having the whip cracked over them to get ready for the next generation of phones for the holidays, and for CES and MWC in early 2016.

What we need is a moratorium. A year where nobody releases a single new handset. There are already more than enough to choose from. Let’s try to get things right first! Let’s fix software on phones, and make it reliable. Let’s work out a way to separate the hardware from the OS, so we can make an operating system which is properly abstracted (like an operating system is on your PC), that doesn’t require the wheel to be reinvented each time. OEMs won’t like it – they will feel they’ll sell less phones. But if they launched less phones, and spent more time getting their existing ones to work properly, perhaps we’d actually see some real innovation on the market?

Users want a high quality experience. I can see that. You can see that. Just the OEMs can’t. They would rather churn out a new phone for the sake of it, than fix their existing ones. It’s wasteful, and it’s expensive, and it ultimately drives up their costs and prices. LG recently reported it makes an average of just 1.2 cents profit per phone they sell. That’s not a lot! It’s not sustainable.

Manufacturers are starting to wise up, and realise they can’t say the solution to every problem is to buy a new phone. That’s why it’s good news to hear that Samsung and LG will join Google in pushing monthly security updates, and working with carriers to get this to happen. Users are no longer willing to tolerate the idea of  “there’s a security bug in the software on your phone, time to buy a new one.” And about time too — perhaps this will be enough to focus OEMs back onto innovating, and creating a quality experience for their customers, rather than trying to sell 2 new near-identical handsets per year, and putting off even their most loyal fans in the process, always waiting on the “next one”.

There’s always something new, just around the corner, about to hit the shelves. That’s the way of the technology industry. But given the low margins in mobile, if customers continue to feel hoodwinked by perpetual “same” product releases, and wait for the “next one”, there might not be a “next one”. Companies can no longer compete on specifications alone, and are going to instead need to innovate. A cynic could argue this explains the popularity of sealed batteries and non-upgradeable storage. But given that 2014 and 2015 flagships are incredibly capable in their own right, we could well see users entrenching themselves and waiting out for better. And heck, it’s not like you’d be suffering by doing so.

Or heck, get a glass grinder and grind the edge off the screen of your current phone, and leave it in the sun for a while. You’ve just built your own flagship! (Please don’t actually do this, or this may happen – see folks, removable batteries are important after all!)

 

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 can finally be rooted

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

alcatel onetouch idol 3 review aa (25 of 27)

Got yourself an Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3? Good choice! We named it one of the best budget phones of 2015 in our review, and now it can get even better. XDA’s developer community has finally achieved root, after having to wait a couple months after the phone’s release.

This comes as great news to OneTouch Idol 3 users who have been itching to tinker with the phone’s software. Those who have been following the progress will know achieving root on this smartphone became a bit of a complication, due to issues with entering fastboot mode. This was no hindrance to XDA users frankee207DallasCZ, and Gynoid, though. These guys worked their way around the obstacles by studying an exploit on phone with similar complications.

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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind rooting, unlocking your bootloader or tinkering with your phone’s software in any way is not safe. There is a chance you could void your warranty or even damage your phone permanently. If you are to root your Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, we advice that you be careful and do a fair amount of research before doing so, as only you will be held responsible for any issue you may encounter. 

Let us continue. All steps have been compiled, organized and published at a post from DallasCZ, so you can simply read his thread to see how you can finally gain access to your phone’s true potential.

alcatel onetouch idol 3 aa 3

This exploit works on the latest software version of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3. Keep in mind this solution has only been tested with the 5.5-inch version of the device. If you own the smaller 4.7-inch iteration, your best bet is to wait patiently.

With this out of the way, it is only a matter of time before ROMs for the Aclatel OneTouch Idol 3 start showing up. That’s when things will get more interesting! How many of you have been waiting for the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 to achieve root? Will you be going through this process?

Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 in video

No, Root Is Not Coming To The LG G4 Just Yet

Posted by wicked June - 10 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Jcase root lg g4

By now many of you will have heard that Senior Recognized Developer jcase in collaboration with autoprime and thecubed were successfully able to root the LG G4. Many of you understandably had questions regarding the break through, so we reached out to jcase to find out some of the details and the stage of development they are on.

 

What Exactly Happened?

As you may have seen on his Youtube page, he has indeed achieved root on the LG G4. If you haven’t had a chance yet, take a minute to check out the video below and get up to speed.

So Are We Getting Root, Or Not?

Yes and no. The first LG G4 he attempted this on unfortunately did not survive the attempt and whilst he was successful on his second device it remains unsafe. When we asked, he had this to say on the subject “I don’t believe this one will ever be released, it is not easy, not safe and I am unable to package it in a way to protect it. I do plan to release a safer option when possible however there is no ETA on that at the moment.” For the moment the current method will be used for further research. He also requests that users do not contact him regarding the status of the project until it is complete.

This is by no means the first time jcase has achieved root on a device, he has a long history on the subject. We do have to remember though that this is his career and not just a hobby, he may often have to hold off on releasing until he is completely ready, as was seen with his Motorola root last year.

What Happens Next?

We will keep you informed on the status of the root. If you are in the process of working on your own root method, by all means continue. We do not know when we will see a stable method. However, it is great to see that there is indeed some progress.

Are you waiting on root for your LG G4? Leave a comment below!

The post No, Root Is Not Coming To The LG G4 Just Yet appeared first on xda-developers.

Voices of XDA: All IT-Guys, Right?

Posted by wicked June - 10 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

IT workers

Editor’s note: This weeks feature has been written by forum member laufersteppenwolf and takes a look at a popular misconception that everyone at XDA faces on a regular basis; we are in fact not all involved in IT outside of XDA in either career or education. 

 

 

It’s no secret that here at XDA we have many exceptional developers. They are so good in fact that they must be developers, programmers, CS professors and such in real life as well, right? This at least, is what most users not just here on XDA but also outside of the community think. To be honest, before I became a Forum Moderator I did as well. Now after actively working on XDA for quite some time, I have come to know better.

No doubt many, if not most “famous” developers here on XDA are working in the IT business in real life. As already reported here. Our Senior Recognized Developer’s would be a prime example of this:  jcase, for example, works as a mobile security researcher, Rebellos works as a Software Developer and Virus is a master technician at Apple. Whilst discussing this phenomenon with several of the Recognized Developers, I discovered that many were Computer Science students (AChep, GermainZ) or Computer Science lecturers (doixanh).

So, all that I just said proved me wrong, right? All of said developers are actually working or studying something related to software engineering, right? Well I also found developers not working in the IT business. One of the most widely known developers would be codeworkx, who completed an apprenticeship in mechatronics and works on XDA and smartphone hacking as a hobby. The same applies to myself, I am currently doing an apprenticeship as a mechatronics engineer and keep developing as a big hobby. Last but not least, we have our Portal Editor MathewBrack who just graduated in agriculture. You can find many more examples like this in this thread, dedicated to discussing the jobs of our members.

You may ask yourself now “That’s great and all, but wouldn’t it be best to leave the software developing to the guys actually knowing what they are doing?”, but then I have to ask, why? I guess people like codeworkx have more than proven that you don’t have to study computer science in order to be good in software development. In fact, I can see many benefits to knowing more than just the one side to a subject; you as a developer have better insight in to what the user actually needs than if you would just write a piece of software “blindly”. While it may do the exact same thing, tiny details could make the difference in the end-user’s choice and experience.

As an example, during my apprenticeship I am working a lot with mills, lathes and of course drills. This means I have to calculate my cutting data for every tool and material. The logical thought was that there has to be an app out there that could do this job quite easily within a few seconds – but I was wrong. While there were a handful of such calculators out there, they were anything but easy to use. Actually, it was faster calculating the data manually than using the app. If I would have been a “normal” worker I would have had to either use those available apps or do my calculations manually. Luckily, however, my hobby was software developing for mobile, because of which I had the opportunity to create an app specifically designed for simplicity and speed.

There is yet another side effect, and definitely a positive one for your colleagues: When they have an issue with their phone, they always know who to ask to resolve the issues ”</p

XDA Forum Member Opinions on I/O and Android M

Posted by wicked June - 3 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Public-opinion

Google’s I/O event this year brought many announcements that affected us as developers. To better understand just how our community felt about the new products and services, we reached out to some of you in the forums. We received many great responses; here are just a few of the things you felt were important.

 

jackfacespoon

“There’s going to be a huge fuss over the smaller but more specific changes to Android, and they’re going to grab the media limelight for the most part. For example, I can already picture the myriad of stories covering disappointing results from things like Doze, or a million apps ungracefully crashing from declined permissions, but as usual, most of these will affect the ‘power users’. What’s actually caught my attention lies more in line with Google’s wider plan.

Firstly, Google (aiming for ‘The Next Billion’ I’m assuming) looks to be focusing on continuing to make things easier for new developers. The new features and changes to Android Studio are pretty huge, and elements like the reduced build times and scalable vector images go a long way to ensure the whole developing process looks far less imposing. Material Design in itself provides a lot of answers to the eternal back and forth question for many developers, namely, how to make a clear but functional UI, but adding to that this year with the Android Design Support Library is the icing on the cake. Want to add a new button? Here’s one, use this. Now everyone can get used to what this icon does, regardless of the app the you’re in. That’s really important for making Android look less convoluted to all its users, and hopefully the addition of more support annotations will help with the reliability of each app and the speed at which they can be tested and ultimately brought to market. Again, for the new developer, this is brilliant.

Secondly, and this is slightly more implied, to me it looks as if Google is slowly adding more features to AOSP that previously you would have only seen in OEM-skinned UI’s. Besides having almost admitted as much, this could be a tactical move rather than a redundant competitiveness for Nexus users. If more of these features are already built into ‘Vanilla’ Android, then the companies that want to add their own flavor on top of the operating system don’t have to spend as much time (and money) developing them themselves, and that means faster updates. Timely software updates have been a very vocal complaint with Android almost since it’s inception, and if this feature-rich AOSP direction continues, combined with the separation and rapid update schedule of Google Play Services, Google could really be on to something.

Now, I’m not foretelling the death of third-party Android builds; manufacturers will always want to add more features, their own style, and fundamentally attempt to differentiate themselves from their rivals, and that’s part of what makes Android so great. After all, we may not have ever had an (admittedly basic and potentially buggy) implementation of multi-window functionality without the efforts of Samsung, LG et al, but in my mind, anything that can take some of the feature development onus away from said manufacturers is beneficial to everyone.”

 

NickName98

“The truth is I was expecting the event to be bigger and more important to the world of android. I’d love if a new nexus 5 was announced this summer. My favourite announcement was the “doze mode”, even if most people didn’t seem to like it. Smartphones these days have great performance, camera, design etc, but the only thing that is maybe getting even worse is the battery, take a look at the S6 for example. So, if doze is gonna make battery better, I like it.

My only concern for Android M, is that Android is becoming less clean. It is now more like a custom rom, this is NOT necessarily a bad thing. What is bad is that manufacturers are going to take that new and “heavier” stock android and add more and more features that will make it run slower. Some of those features may also be the same as stock Android’s so we’ll basically get double all the features or apps. (Android pay-samsung pay, two browsers and other apps, and many battery saving modes etc).”

 

gamer.11

“App permissions: As a user this is a welcomed change as I get to choose what I want to share and my data is finally under my control. As a developer I am worried will the new feature keep bugging the user (if he selected “no”) for that one little network connectivity permission so that I can display my ads for revenue in my file manager app, will it cut in on my ads revenue? (turning down the network permission could be taken out)

Photos (purely a user’s POV): unlimited storage up to 16mp? Sure they compress the image, but this is ok as long as there won’t be any perceivable change in quality of the image. The ability to get a link to photos will be extensively used by all, as this makes it incredibly simple to share the selected album.
NDK support in android studio (a dev’s POV): finally! this is long overdue, sure Android depends a lot on java, but games are still done better using the old native languages (c++). Eclipse has been missing a lot of things from android studio (sure plugins help but they can only do so much) it will be really interesting to see how NDK will evolve with the studio.”

 

Jammol

“Personally, I feel that they have good intentions with the new features that Android M has to offer. Google Photos was separated from Google+ FINALLY! It’s also very user-friendly and easier to use two accounts. The battery saving technique they have come up with is actually rather good. I saw folks complaining that they need to focus on Screen ON Time instead of Screen OFF Time. To me, better SOFFT allows for better SONT.

Users voiced their concerns on LP and it seems as though the team listened. Did they listen to everything? Probably not, but what M has to offer is a good start so far. People however have a lot of concerns when it comes to the new features they have decided to put into M. For me personally, my only concern is with the Automatic Backup feature! User id and password information is sent to Google in plain text format which can be intercepted and there goes your Google account. So far I haven’t seen any secure way mentioned for the data being backed up. I don’t mind basic settings being saved on a server such as XDA Premium App: Dark Mode, notification settings; just to name a few examples. More sensitive data however such as login info, personal notes(Memo app, note app) etc, should stay on the device. I understand how some may find this feature useful in a day-to-day world where people are too busy to save everything they need on an SD Card or their own personal cloud system. However for the majority of us deeper Android users, this can be a nightmare. Now I know a lot of people are going to say that you can just turn it off. Well you can, but from what we saw from the I/O, it’s on automatically and that is very dangerous especially if you’re using an OEM device that receives an OTA. Upon reboot after M update is installed, is my data going to begin backup without me telling it to? That’s what it appears like.

This reminds me of one of the things I hate the most when it comes to Google Play Store; Automatic Updates when connected to Wifi. I flash custom Roms a lot on my device; A LOT and yes I need help. When setting up a new Rom, I like to bring my configuration of apps from the previous set up because I don’t want to go through the trouble of selecting each app to install again. Yes there is Titanium Backup but that has its slew of issues when switching Roms; not knocking the app, it’s great, but it’s not for me. So after I put in my information and I’m brought to the launcher home screen, Play Store goes to work and installs the apps that I had on my list. It also automatically adds apps needing to be updated on the list. This can be a pain if you’re OCD about BLOAT and happen to be trying out a custom OEM Rom that was not debloated to your liking.”

 

FenrirMX

“Since we started to work smart devices into our lives, the one constant we’ve had is a bad to mediocre battery life. Long gone are the days when a charge could last you a week of moderate to heavy use from our old indestructible Nokias. The two features that most hold my interest are the granular app permissions control and the Doze mode.

The first one we’ve all been waiting for since AppOps was “leaked”, and is also the one thing iOS has been ahead of Android for a while. This way we can keep unruly apps under control (looking at you, Facebook!) without a need for root, which may not affect us here in XDA, but not everyone can get root on every device, so this is great news.

And Doze, which is basically the Stamina mode many OEMs, namely Sony, have in their devices. If this one can manage to wrangle Google Play Services, which I’ve found to be the biggest offenders in the battery department, I think M could be a great OS.”

 

Trueray

“The things that really peaked my interest is all the back-end stuff in regards to Android M, especially when it comes to performance and battery life. Doze is a feature I’m really excited about because at times some apps can go rogue due to poor coding both for that particular device or in general. Google finding a way to save battery life even further without totally shutting down major services during standby/sleep is a great achievement by itself.

The ability to manage your permissions is something I think many people have been waiting for including myself. Some people like it for security purposes but my reason again is that it provides users with a way to deal with wakelock problems. Many apps have wakelock issues that can significantly effect battery life and having the power to effectively turn off specific permissions within an app can possibly help rectify any of these problems.

These two features should help users get more out of their devices while maintaining the great user experience that Android M will provide.”

 

magnamentis

“Project ARA progress was my favourite announcement because I strongly believe that modular computing (not only mobile) will be the future and this is the first big and real step in this direction. I was proposing this to my OEM-friends in Shenzhen for around.the last 5 years whilst in the mean time I can see it’s worked on several fronts from different angles of attack. The Nexpaq would be my favourite example while it even has the potential to prevail over ARA because of it’s wider focus.

Doze seems to be quite a hit as well as multi-window, about time I’d say. This is almost as exciting as the choice between dark and light interface and the fact that external SD cards are finally getting out of the corner is just about good style. I have no idea what made the so big, they just make up additional and unnecessary hassle to their users.

I’m indeed concerned about letting Google backup my data “automatically” with no idea as to where, for how long and who will have access. Even though I can choose freely, I prefer to transfer app data via OTG USB-Stick over cloud backups, not even talking about the fact that they can take forever (chrome backup haha) I shall certainly stick with offline backups which I later can copy to my computer for safety.”

 

opssemnik

“Android M: While it didn´t get everyone excited, it got me, sure it won’t bring a lot of new things or new UI elements, however android M seems to be marking a point in the history of android, it finally seems that Android is getting mature, it’s finally a system made with every part in mind, the “core” with all Android’s customizability and power, the UI and how the System interacts with the user (and Vice-versa), with focus on features to make android even more powerful, without being less attractive for new users.

App Permissions: FINALLY, We can’t deny android didn’t really handle permissions well before, sure in a security point of view it was working, however the interaction between how it handles them was non-existent. If an app didn’t have a permission for what it was trying to do, it would just crash, the user itself would not even know. As a developer you would need to read the logcats to see what happened, it was a mess for the user, you either had the app and you let it use all the permissions it wanted, or you didn’t install it. Finally this is over, however I still feel sad at the fact it won’t work with apps targeted for earlier versions than M. It’s still hard to find versions targeting L or even KK (most apps are JB, with features via app compat, and I know the difference between min sdk and target sdk).

Doze and per app hibernating: Useless on phones and to be honest it’s not more than just a hacky fix. The system should have better integration with apps, it’s sad but the more apps you have the more sluggish your system will run. This isn’t something we see on iOS and WP. I’m sorry but once you need to make a new service to make a custom keyboard, something just seems wrong.

Cardboard: Good idea, however since I live in Brazil I will not see anything from it, for me this is just an experiment, I believe in the future google will make another VR project based on cardboard. Which would explain why they have not mass marketed it.

Project ARA: Oh this one, this should have been on the keynote alongside android M, the demo was good and bad at same time. I personally have a lot to say, ARA will fail even counting the fact that google will sell it, most of people who will buy are techies and such some months later it’s going be doomed. The project however, will go on. I don’t know but a lot of things from the small to the bigger just felt wrong on that demo, it seems that it is my paranoia but:

  • The pieces were added in such a particular order.
  • He said “applications processor” instead of SOC (and I bet he knows the difference), which lead me to think that there is a co-processor handling all the communication inside the main frame.
  • How it will handle other SOC (remember, the SOC controls everything, not just CPU/GPU, it goes from display to usb port to the bootloaders).
  • Why didn’t they made the display also detachable? they could have made a frame with just the base chips,a big nand (8gb) JUST for the system and some low level bootloaders (like a bios in a pc), on it you could attach what you wanted, and with 8gb just for the system, they could have made a build of android with assets for all densities, etc.
  • How are the antennas being handled? Another chip inside the main display frame? If so how again, will it handle other processors, camera, etc.
  • Why it was running launcher2? AOSP by default builds launcher 3 since KK, launcher 2 we only see in phones upgraded from JB to KK or L.

However the demo at least showed us that ARA was actually a thing and it was somewhat working, even being a “safe” environment.

I/O overall: It seemed more organized than last years however I didn’t like it that much, it didn’t bring much. The only thing for me that helped when developing was the update to the Material design guidelines and the fact that finally, after almost 2 years Android Studio is fully supporting the NDK. I also liked the fact they gone and made more I/O widespread not just in the main cities, e.g. we had I/O extended to my town, and it was pretty cool.”


 

These were just a few of the responses we received, but you can already see recurring themes and concerns. Coming up to the final release of Android M this fall we will no doubt see more opinions and thoughts arise. To read the concerns of Senior Recognised Developer Pulser regarding backups head over to here. Or to see our summary of the event head over here!

What do you think to the Google I/O and Android M announcements? Leave a comment below!

The post XDA Forum Member Opinions on I/O and Android M appeared first on xda-developers.

Discover XDA: Discover Greater

Posted by wicked May - 26 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

XDA

We’ve all been there at some point in our XDA lives; we used to spend hours browsing over the forums but now we seem to be stuck inside the same one device and a few software threads. I’m here today to help you out of that rut. With over 2.5 million threads, you can be sure to find a new area of interest. Even if you do not currently have an interest in some of the alternate forums, it’s not hard to find projects that can completely change your future in development.

 

Hardware Hacking

Of course, the main focus at XDA is software development, but that does not mean our hardware is not just as important. Taking a look over at the General thread, you quickly find everything from repairs for loose micro usb ports to the almost impossible task of upgrading your phone’s RAM. This forum is also home to several categories of hardware hacks including:

  • NFC
    – The controversial and emerging technology of NFC implants
    – NFC tag removal hacks to allow your phone to run tasks only for the duration it is in range of a tag
    Gain control of the NFC HCE controller and enable true Tap and Pay abilities for AOSP based ROMs

 

 

  • Chromecast
    – Check out this definitive guide to all things Chromecast
    – Have a question? It may have been asked in this incredibly in-depth FAQ
    – Flash a new rom to your cast, with the long developed Eureka rom

 

General Discussion

It’s not all about phones here, we also have a general discussion section. With the vast variety of threads, even the best of us get lost on occasion, head on over to XDA assist for help from our team of experts finding your way. Alternatively if you desire a break from developing we have an off-topic forum, featuring some bizarre and wonderful conversations, such as the three word story thread which is now at 117,000 words after five years and numerous tangents. Also found here are threads on tips for finding new TV shows and even the occasional thread requesting male fashion advice. On the more serious side of this forum you can find:

  • About XDA
    – Did you know we are in the process of building XDA one, the first XDA app built entirely in house?
    – Think you deserve to be a recognized Contributor/Themer? Apply here
    – Is XDA missing your device? There is a place you can ask for new devices to be added, that place is here.

 

  • Security
    – Just what is Responsible Disclosure?
    – Learn many great tips for making your devices more secure
    – And of course a great list of security contacts for some important OEMs and carriers

 

Of course these aren’t the only forums you may have missed out on, I frequently find new threads almost at random by simply editing the URL. All forums are represented by a number which can be found at the end of your URL shown here as “*”, try changing them to random numbers for a more adventurous experience.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=******

These are just the beginning of your next great discovery. Taking a stroll through some of the threads you may have never visited before can really have some great results. Finding a new project to work on or learning something entirely new could be waiting just a few forums over. Try it out, next time you head to the forums try browsing a new section for a short while, you could be surprised at what you find.

Which forum/thread do you visit that is not related to your rom/software? Leave a comment below!

The post Discover XDA: Discover Greater appeared first on xda-developers.

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